The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad, has resigned from office.
He reportedly resigned on Sunday night on health ground.
According to the Vanguard, Mohammad’s resignation is possibly linked to protest of the judges of the Supreme Court over their welfare.
Vanguard had earlier reported that 14 serving justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (names withheld), are planning to confront the Chief Justice of the Federation, CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad over welfare issues.
By last week, the issue was said to have degenerated to the extent that the aggrieved judicial officers were set to confront Mohammad.
They complained of poor welfare under the leadership of Justice Muhammad.
They said they are being denying their welfare package even after the package was captured by the court’s budgetary allocation.
They said the relevant Federal Government agencies saddled with the responsibility of reviewing upward their salaries and allowances have kept them on the same salary for 14 years.
The justices had been spoiling for showdown with the CJN, on the grounds that the work they do is very serious and sensitive, which ordinarily requires the appropriate authorities to take good care of them to be able to deliver as expected.
The Justices had accused the CJN of ignoring their repeated demand for improved welfare, despite the upward review of the budgetary allocation of the Judiciary.
Aside from the allegation that accommodation was not provided for new Justices that were sworn in since 2020, the aggrieved jurists accused the CJN of not allowing them to attend foreign training. The justices also alleged that vehicles that were supplied to them were either refurbished or substandard.
Meanwhile, in replacement for Mohammad after his resignation, the National Judicial Council (NJC) is set to recommend Justice Kayode Ariwoola to President Muhammadu Buhari as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
An informed source on Monday said leadership of the judiciary has fallen on Ariwoola as the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court in line with the tradition in the bench.
The tradition, it was learnt, is that where an incumbent head of court vacates office either by reason of death, retirement, resignation or sack, the next most senior judicial officer in the court takes over.
Justice Tanko is the second Chief Justice of Nigeria to have resigned his appointment in the last four years.
Justice Tanko took over from Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen who also bowed out of the bench before he clocked the mandatory retirement age of 70 years under controversial circumstances
Justice Tanko was born in December 1953.
But for his resignation, he was supposed to steer the ship of the apex court till December 2023.
He was supposed to be the judicial officer that would have sworn in the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 29, 2023.
Justice Olukayode Ariwoola who may likely succeed him if nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari and confirmed by the Senate, was born on 22 August 1958.
He was formerly a Justice of the Nigerian courts of appeal and on November 22, 2011, he was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of Nigeria as Justice, sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.